Knee replacement surgery after care

Updated April 17, 2017

Knee replacement surgery is done when the knee joint needs to be replaced. Arthritis, haemophilia and an infection are all conditions that may require this surgery. The pain from this surgery can last from three to six months, however, the sooner the knee heals, the sooner the pain may go away. Following your doctor's aftercare instructions is an important part of the healing process.

Pain Medication

After surgery, your doctor may give you a prescription for a pain medication that will either decrease the amount of pain you have or take it away completely. You should take the medication in the dose your doctor has prescribed and at the times he has prescribed it for you. You should not wait for the pain to become intolerable before taking the medication because the medication may not work at that point.

Apply Ice

Crush ice in a plastic bag and wrap it in a towel, then apply it on your knee for 15 to 20 minutes every hour, or as needed. The ice helps the blood vessels shrink, resulting in a reduction of swelling and pain.

Wear Stockings

Before leaving the hospital, your doctor may give you a pair of compression stockings to wear. These stockings are tight stockings that, when worn on the legs following surgery, help blood flow through the blood vessels. This may help prevent blood clots from forming in the veins of your legs.

Physical Therapy

Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help strengthen the bones and muscles around the knee joint. The exercises may also help your knee heal quicker. Some of the exercises you may do with your physical therapist include sit-stand-sit exercises, straight leg raises and heel slides. You may also practice bending your knee, stretching your leg and squatting. As you progress, the therapist may start you on a walking program or have you begin using an exercise bike.


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About the Author

Based in Jamestown, Pa., Hannah Rice Myers has more than 10 years of experience as a freelance writer, specializing in the health industry. Many of her articles have appeared in newspapers, as well as "Curing Epilepsy: Hope Through Research." Rice Myers received her master's degree in nursing from Upstate Medical University in 2001.